A right to health care?
Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine announced they could not support the Senate Republican Better Health Care Act (BHCA, or Trumpcare). Sen. Paul represents the constitutional conservative/libertarian wing of the Republican Party. Sen. Collins represents the left-liberal—called “moderate”—wing of the GOP. Politics does make strange bedfellows.
Soon others joined them. As William Butler Yeats wrote, “The centre cannot hold.” That bill is dead.
Paul also raised a philosophical question: Do you have a right to health care?
But what was highly unusual for a Republican senator was that he did not raise the issue against the left’s obsession with single-payer, government-run health care. Instead, he raised the issue against his own party, asking if the GOP had the right to force Americans to subsidize the insurance companies.
For constitutional conservatives and libertarians, you cannot claim a right that simultaneously creates a burden on others.
Only individuals have rights, and the primary right is to be left alone. The right of association includes the right not to associate. The right to speech, includes hate speech. The right to keep and bear arms in itself harms no one.
All these rights—and many more—are shared equally by all so long as they do not interfere with the same rights of others. These rights create no burden on anyone, except possibly those charged with the protection of these rights.
The left liberal version of rights, however, does create burdens on others. The so-called right to health care, to a living wage, to taxpayer-funded abortions, and other so-called rights all impose serious burdens on others. A “right to health care” is really asking the state to commandeer the time and labor of many individuals by force, or the credible threat of force, to serve others. They are justified by calls to tax the rich or big corporations. But in reality, the burden falls on everyone, and, sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money.
In Britain, where the government could not find the money to pay for long-term guaranteed mental health care, the Tories proposed taking the profits from the sale of seniors’ homes when they die. It was called a “dementia tax” and contributed to the defeat of Theresa May in the last election.
Rand Paul put government business subsidies and guaranteed profits in the same category as the social rights the left favors as false rights creating a burden on others. He explained how easily free markets have responded to change compared to large government bureaucracies. He said if his party would provide free competition in health care, people of all classes would have access to quality health care, with or without insurance.
Polls show young people today believe currently existing capitalism is so bad they dream of socialism. But capitalism has had a much better record in real life of providing for human welfare than any socialist experiment has. Real capitalism, as visionaries like Sen. Paul and a few others in the Freedom Caucus understand, would be nothing like the crony capitalism practiced today.
An excellent example in Nevada is the privilege granted to the alcohol distribution companies that is causing shortages of recreational marijuana. A monopoly on pot distribution does not come from the market, but rather from lobbying government.
Here in Nevada, I do not think Sen. Heller has articulated freedom as the reason for his opposition to Obamacare lite. It seems more about weak knees. He has to decide if he will defend freedom or not to try to keep his seat 1n 2018.